Airport Road and the Pépinière

Recently, while waiting to pick up a rental car, I encountered a number of very interesting creatures along the airport road and at one of the nurseries (the where-you-buy-plants kind) across from Hope Estate. My discoveries also exemplified a few recurring phenomena that I’ve experienced in my search for wildlife on the island.

If you see something once, you start to see it more. This of course, isn’t always true. One could see a rare bird only once. But for other things, once you notice them, you often start finding them all over. In this case, I hadn’t noticed the syrphid (hoverfly) larvae that eat the oleander aphids that are often on the apple of sodom plant. Now, I see them frequently.

Boredom leads to discovery. I’ve found many things while waiting around, often in spots that are the opposite of lush wilderness. This is mostly because the closer you look, the more you see, and sometimes the best way to take the time in one spot is to be stuck there. Otherwise, it’s often too easy to keep moving and miss things. This applies especially to things that are well-camoflauged. Or very small…

If you don’t see anything interesting, look for something smaller. Everyone loves iguanas and pelicans, but the real diversity is amongst critters much smaller. Even if you’re in a spot where you don’t see very many 1cm insects, you can probably find 1mm insects. This actually works on much smaller scales as well, over 1400 species of bacteria have been found just in peoples’ bellybuttons.

Anyhow, here are a variety of critters, including small planthoppers and flies. Be sure to check out the last aphid photo to see a tiny wasp that parasitizes aphids. I didn’t even notice it until I looked at the photos on my computer.

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